Friday, May 17, 2013

on quitting...stuff...

I'm changing my major--and it's caused me to spend a lot of time thinking about being a "quitter" and whether I am one!  These are my thoughts at the moment...

Know your limits.  For example, at this point in my life, I don't cope well with stress or pressure.  I have a lot of trouble "letting go" and letting things take their course.  My boyfriend is a gem at this.  He told me the other day, "I take the energy that you spend worrying and do something about it. If it worries you, do something and then let it be, that's all you can do."  Here's hoping it'll rub off on me!  For the moment, I know not to try to do everything that I come across.  I've gotten pretty good at finding nice ways to say no.

Make conscious decisions based on deliberate thought.  Follow through on those.  Make sure you know exactly why you're taking on a project or responsibility.  Decide why you care about your grades, or why you want to put effort into something, and keep those reasons in the forefront of your mind.  When things get tougher, you'll need to remember your good reasons in order to see things through.

Don't allow yourself to be pressured or forced into something.  Reevaluate constantly to make sure you're doing what you're doing for the right reasons.  Do not be afraid to step out if you find an answer you don't like.  It took me awhile to come to terms with leaving the engineering major.  I'm naturally a bit averse to change, so that was part of it, but then I tried to evaluate my motives for being an engineer.  I declared the major because I liked problem solving, but had no experience.  I liked the glamour of being a female engineer--more than I would like to admit!  I anticipated job security.  But at the bottom line, I wasn't doing it because I loved it--in fact, the more classes I took, the less I liked it!  I was doing it because of the money, the image, the title.  Those weren't good enough reasons for me to suffer through two more years of classes I didn't enjoy, only to land in a job full of stress!  So I made the decision to change to mathematics and see where it took me.

Consider the effect on others, but remember: you are not responsible for others, though you are responsible to others.  My sister said, "If Lydia can't do engineering, who can?"  I certainly wouldn't want to discourage anyone from pursuing the major--but it has to be worth it to them.  I'm a girl, and I don't anticipate having to support a family (don't hate--I'm not saying girls shouldn't or can't support the family!) but if I had been a boy, looking for a lucrative job to hold the rest of my life, I might have decided to keep going.  I struggled with feeling like I'd let down my professors, and even people to whom I'd "talked up" the engineering program!  But that's that just a glorified sense of my own importance--they're taking the news just fine, haha!

Life is too short to be perpetually miserable.  Try to enjoy what you're doing, but if that proves impossible, have the courage to change what you're doing.  Sometimes it's just been too long, and you can't do anything about it.  I found myself completely burnt out this semester.  I'd come out of a very difficult freshman year and went straight to work all summer without a break or time off.  I worked up till the day before I left, came back to school, and struggled through a very difficult and unenjoyable semester.  After only two weeks off at Christmas, I came back for an accelerated 6 credit hours in 25 days, what we call "J-term."  That dead-ended straight into this spring semester.  I'm exhausted!  I can find a way to enjoy just about any work, but that takes a lot of energy.  In the end, the moment I decided I could stop fighting my way through this major, I felt my spirits lift.

Some people might feel let down or offended, which is why you must really think through every action.  On the other hand, most of the time, people aren't nearly as upset as you expect.  Thing is, they've got their own lives to worry about.  I had some people try to talk me out of it--but in fact, they strengthened my resolve that this was the right decision.  As we discussed it, I effectively convinced them and myself that this was the best thing to do at the time.  News flash: their worlds didn't revolve around my being an engineer, haha!

Be very aware of how much pressure you feel is coming from other people and how much is coming from just yourself.  I've always felt a lot of pressure to ace everything in school.  That didn't come from my parents at all--all they ask is that I do my best and look at the big picture!  I'm working on realizing that the only one telling me "If you don't keep your 4.0 GPA, your life will end!"!  There's no one breathing down my neck saying, "You must make a lot of money at your job!" or "You must get all these internships and work constantly!"  The people around me actually say the opposite quite often.  All that pressure is coming from me, and it's unnecessary!

So that's where I'm at right now.... Do you find ways to get out of things that are making you miserable, or do you make yourself push through? What are your thoughts on quitting things?